When those new calendars show up, you might feel that tug to make one or more resolutions to improve some aspect of your life. Frequently, resolutions are about health, such as improving eating habits, working out or quitting tobacco. Even if a resolution is about something less momentous, the tricky part might hit around week 2 or 8 or 10, when your commitment to your new course might start to lessen.
“First, avoid setting unrealistic expectations,” Davidson said. “If you focus too much on doing things perfectly, you are going to increase your anxiety. Think about what you want to change and why, and commit to a long-term process.”
Then, try this:
Preparation is key. In order to commit to your resolution, you have to have a plan. Does your new path require a little research or new equipment? Do you have to purge tempting items from your home? Then enlist friends or family to support your change. If one of them becomes a workout buddy, so much the better.
Don’t wait until January 1—start now! The winter holidays might be a challenge. You might feel obligated to follow traditions that aren’t in keeping with your resolution. But don’t overindulge during the holidays because New Year’s Day is your “cutoff.” Find a way to blend your new habit into the older tradition. Just think how good you will feel if you head into the new year with the momentum of having already started on your new path.
Be prepared for setbacks. Think of the bump in the road as part of the progress. Don’t get down on yourself—or give up—if you eat one piece of candy or miss a workout. Just get back to your plan as soon as you can.
Last, said Davidson, “don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. A nutritionist, trainer, counselor
or doctor has helped others make positive changes. That professional could help you, too.”